Literacy - Reading Specialist Certification: Robert Morris University Literacy - Reading Specialist Certification | Robert Morris University


RMU's Master in Education in Literacy – Reading Specialist certification provides learning opportunities for classroom teachers to better manage resources in the classroom for students with literacy needs. The 36-credit program offers certified teachers a K-12 certification that has both a theoretical and applied approach to working with students’ literacy problems in the classroom.

Visit the RMU Office of Graduate Admissions website to find out about tuition and fees, financial aid, and how to apply for the Reading Specialist Program. You may also contact the Office of Graduate Admissions directly at 800-762-0097.


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Candidates must have a minimum cumulative QPA of 3.00 and are asked to submit two (2) letters of recommendation and a written goal statement to the Office of Admissions.

Students in the program must have updated clearances, and complete the eight (8) course 27-credit program of study which includes the 6-credit clinical experience within a five (5) year time frame. If the student meets all of the check sheet requirements, successfully completes all field-based assignments and the 6-credit clinical experience (Practicum), and passes the comprehensive exam and Praxis exam, then one of the certifying officers, Dean Mary Ann Rafoth or Department Head Shelly Haser, will apply to the PDE for granting the candidate the Reading Specialist certification. Then, students may continue in the program and take nine (9) additional credits in research to complete the master of education in literacy.

The program is designed to be completed in approximately 4 semesters, including a 6-credit practicum in the summer. Semester course work takes place two evenings per week during two 8-week sessions each in the fall and spring terms; each class during these sessions is offered in a 4-hour block. Some of the courses will be offered as hybrid in terms of course delivery. Upon summer completion, students will have earned enough credits to apply for the Reading Specialist certification upon their successful comprehensive exam and reading specialist Praxis exam. To earn the Master of Education in Literacy students will then complete an additional nine credits. Click here to view the courses and their descriptions, and click here to view the program of study.

The first 27 credits of coursework that will provide candidates with a comprehensive background in literacy meeting all requirements of the certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

A Reading Specialist Certification in Pennsylvania is acquired after completion of required course work, a six-credit practicum and passing scores on the Reading Specialist Praxis exam. Students can then choose to continue their coursework to earn a master of education in literacy by taking an additional nine credits in research at the graduate level.

Most of our graduate programs can be completed in 27 months or less, through in-class, online or hybrid study. Take classes one night a week through your course of study. Admission is rolling and classes start fresh every eight weeks. You can also choose to pursue your degree full- or part-time.

Graduates of the program earn a Master's of Education in Literacy (M.Ed.) degree and have the foundation to serve as a reading specialist in a k-12 setting. Candidates learn to assess reading difficulties, implement appropriate literacy instructions, and use data-driven instruction to plan school-wide literacy programs. This degree and certification also provides a diverse yet highly specialized background in education of great benefit to teachers.

The School of Education and Social Sciences faculty is comprised of caring individuals who accept the responsibility for educating the "whole" student at RMU. Consequently, our faculty members are specialists in their areas of expertise who effectively implement sound instructional practices when teaching and just as importantly, they engage students in a variety of purposeful enrichment activities outside the classroom setting. As all faculty possess related work experience as practitioners in the field, such as principals, superintendents, teachers, researchers, authors, psychologists, counselors, etc., students learn from them first-hand what it takes to succeed.  

 All instructors in the M.Ed. in Literacy – Reading Specialist courses are certified as reading specialists, hold terminal degrees from fully accredited universities, and have extensive background work in reading in the public school system. The coordinator for the program is Dr. Carianne Bernadowski ( - 412-397-5463)